Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review December 25, 2013/ 22 Teves, 5774

Social Security Gets More Politically Secure

By Froma Harrop



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Proposals to raise Social Security benefits are a refreshing antidote to portrayals of the program as a mere drain on the Treasury. Details of some such plans are troubling — for reasons I'll go into — but the change in tone is most welcome.

Democratic Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and Sherrod Brown of Ohio are leading a campaign to raise benefits by about $70 a month and alter the cost-of-living adjustments to the beneficiary's advantage. The higher payments would be covered by raising the income cap, which is now $113,700, on paying Social Security taxes.

Interesting ideas all, especially raising the income limit. This alone could end the concern that in 2033, Social Security may be unable to maintain the current level of benefits.

But most importantly, it counters the nonsense that Social Security is in dire trouble. A completely self-sufficient program, workers and their employers pay for every penny of it. The accounting for the trust fund is cheesy, that's true, but there is no way the Treasury won't pay back the money it borrowed from it (again, real dollars collected via Social Security taxes).

Why it was a short eight years ago that Republicans were trying to launch the dismantling of Social Security through a privatization scheme. Recall former President George W. Bush pushing for a plan to let future retirees put their Social Security contributions into the tender hands of Wall Street. There was much bravado comparing the returns on private investments to "returns" on the government program.

All this ignored the reality that Social Security is insurance, not an investment. And it does other things, like help the children of workers who have died.

At the time, stocks were booming and house prices bubbling. Bush reassured workers that he would not let them invest their retirement savings in risky places.

Then the bottom fell out. Prices for the finest blue chip stocks cratered. Imagine the fallout had Bush's plan come to fruition. An enraged Joe Public, seeing his government-approved stock portfolio shot to smithereens, would have descended on Washington along with a million lawyers demanding to be made whole. What followed would have been one heck of a government bailout.

As many middle class Americans survey the ashes of more recent reversals in their finances — fallen house values, investments gone awry, lost jobs, shrinking pensions — Social Security is looking good. If all else goes bad, it will be there to pay the electric bills.

Today, only 43 percent of workers have more than $25,000 set aside for retirement, according to shocking numbers from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. That's down from an already unimpressive 51 percent in 2008.



Note that most of the above anxieties belong to the middle class. It is this rude awakening — plus the reality that Republican voters are getting older and themselves less confident — that has changed the politics of Social Security.

Thus, ideas being floated by left-leaning think tanks to tinker with Social Security's broad base by shifting more of its benefits to low-income people are dangerous. That turns it into a welfare program, and you know what happens to welfare programs in this country.

Politicians don't mess with Medicare, which serves the rich, poor and those in between, the way they mess with Medicaid, a program mainly for the poor. Liberals should observe that a conservative tactic for weakening Medicare is to stuff it with so much means testing — scaling benefits according to income — that the well-to-do care less and less about the maintaining the program.

Rising income inequality is an important concern, but there are other ways to help the poor. Social Security is strong because it works for everyone.

• Archives


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.


© 2013, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles

Quantcast